Rove willing to testify -- except when he's not

After expressing interest in talking about Siegelman controversy, Rove starts backpedaling.


Steve Benen
April 18, 2008 8:07PM (UTC)

It finally looked like we were getting somewhere. A couple of weeks ago, in a startling "60 Minutes" report, the nation saw the ways in which former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman had been railroaded and sent to prison under the most dubious of circumstances. Based on a variety of elements, Siegelman has argued that Karl Rove was directly involved in this travesty.

Indeed, after a federal appeals court ordered his release on bond, Siegelman didn't hesitate to cite Rove's apparent involvement in his case. “His fingerprints are smeared all over the case,” Siegelman said.

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As recently as a couple of weeks ago, Rove not only dismissed Siegelman's accusations out of hand, he also gave word that he'd be willing to talk about this issue under oath. MSNBC asked Rove if he'd agree to testify if subpoenaed as part of a congressional investigation into Siegelman's case. Rove's attorney told the network, "Sure."

Lawmakers, delighted by Rove's unexpected openness, decided yesterday to take advantage of the opportunity.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) and other panel members are calling on Karl Rove to testify before Congress on the alleged White House-led investigation of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman (D). [...]

"There continue to be numerous complaints of selective or politically motivated prosecution since our investigation began last year," Conyers said in a statement corresponding to a report released Thursday on alleged selective prosecutions.

"The actions we are taking today, including calling Karl Rove to testify, are an effort to get to the bottom of this matter," he added.

For quite some time, Rove has gone to considerable lengths to avoid cooperating with congressional inquiries. Based on his lawyer's surprising comments, it appeared that we might finally see Rove answering questions under oath.

That is, until late yesterday, when Rove and his team started backpedaling.

In other words, we've gone from "sure" to "not gonna happen." Rove didn't cooperate with congressional inquiries before, and he's not about to start now.

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Steve Benen

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